Composer Highlight: Scott Wollschleger


We have been so thrilled to work with Scott Wollschleger this year on his new piece for us, Violain! He has been an incredible collaborator, and we feel lucky to have such a great and thoughtful new piece to add to our repertoire. We played some preview performances of the piece on our California tour with great success, and after some tweaks and changes made by Scott we are ready for the world premiere performance on the permutations series on Thursday, December 14th at the DiMenna Center at 7:30pm! 


What was your process like when writing 'Violain'?

My writing process is very hands on and I played around with both instruments to find the sounds I wanted to use for this piece. A lot of the sounds are a result of very fast gestures with unusual bowing technique. In some spots I had to video myself and play it back in slow motion to see what I was doing. Once I saw what I was doing I notated the sound/gesture on staff paper and then taped that individual piece of staff paper to my wall. After some time my walls were decorated with various panels of notation. Many of the "panels" were made of self-similar sounds which made it easy to "stitch" together the various panels to create larger sections of the piece. The piece was written almost exclusively using this kind of collage technique.

Is there anything you would like the audience to know about the piece?

The title came about through a typo in the music engraving file name. The piece was going to have the boring title, "Viola and Violin". The typo-title is fitting because a great deal of the music embraces a typo aesthetic. Since the music was written by hand musical typos were common and in many places I ended up letting the mistake stay in the music because it sounded more interesting.  Also by letting some typos be I feel this gives the music an extra layer of joyful Wabi-sabi. 

What have you been listening to on repeat recently?

Galina Ustvolskaya and Phil Niblock. 

Do you have a go-to car snack recommendations for us?

In a desperate moment a few years ago I bought a bag of Combos on a road trip and discovered they're fun to eat while driving. They also last a week after being open and can be left in a hot steamy car for many hours and taste the same. You can't think to much about them while eating them or you'll feel gross. But I buy a bag any time I hit the road. 

Can you tell us something that we don't know (about you, the world, the universe, etc.)?

The world already ended. 


Check out more of Scott's work on his website!

andWeek: Thanksgiving edition


What a week, am I right?! There was so much to be thankful for, and spending time with family and friends was pretty amazing. Hannah and I took the week off from each other after the intense California trip, but boy did I miss her. I am sure she felt the same, but she hates encouraging my fancies and will never admit it!

I spent the weekend hanging with my dad, his wife Katie, my two sweet brothers, Lucio and Matteo, and their pup, Pippo in DeKalb, IL. Family came into town from all over the place for Thanksgiving dinner and my cousin’s baby shower. Many games were played, Pippo was walked, and pies were consumed.

PIE. If you know me you know that I love pie. If you want to get to know me, offer me pie and I will be yours forever. 


Pippo is a mega goofball with a tiny frame, a big personality, and an assortment of winter accessories.


Downtown DeKalb. Where all of the magic happens.


We are stuffed full of food but enjoying a brisk family pic on the back porch!


Looking forward: I CANNOT wait for the andPlay + David Bird meeting/dinner this coming week. Two of my favorite people to talk big ideas with in one place! Also, the weather is getting cooler and I have plans to whip up a batch of meyer lemon cranberry scones (yum)!


I traveled to Pittsburgh this Thanksgiving to see my family. It was a relaxing few days full of funny conversations, good food, and the constant "click" of my dad's selfie-stick. Here are a few shots from my past week!

This picture was actually taken in New York earlier this week, on my run in Inwood Hill Park. There is a turn in the path where people have discarded their Halloween pumpkins -- including this Cinderella-sized one!


My mom cooked Thanksgiving dinner this year and it was delicious. This was my first Thanksgiving as a meat-eater in a long time, so I enjoyed trying turkey again!


The day after Thanksgiving we took a family walk through Frick Park. It was a beautiful day and a perfect way to walk off that gigantic meal. 


Our walk landed us at an exhibit at The Frick Pittsburgh  where we saw their latest traveling exhibit, "Undressed: A History of Fashion in Underwear." Strange family activity, but actually pretty interesting. I'm glad women don't still wear corsets -- ouch!


My youngest brother has become quite the chef and cooked schezuan beef for our family dinner one night. I was shocked by the schezuan peppercorns that make your mouth go numb -- it was such a strange feeling, but really tasty!


Looking forward: I'm figuring out how to cook some strange vegetables I received in a farmshare this week, including a yokohama squash. Any suggestions?

Composer Highlight: Ravi Kittappa

We are jazzed to get started with our Fall 2017 tour down the coast of California! The schedule is on our events pages, but here is a little overview of our stops. We will be at the Center for New Music with Chartreuse on 11/8, in Boulder Creek on the Indexical series on 11/10, Paso Robles for a private event at St. Peter of Alcantara Vineyard for the Guyomar Wine Club member party on 11/11, Los Angeles at Monk Space with Chartreuse on 11/12, and finally at UCSD in the Conrad Prebys Music Center Recital Hall on 11/13. 

We received a 2016 CMA Classical Commissioning grant with Ravi Kittappa, and it has been such a fun journey to make this piece a reality. We are really looking forward to premiering this work and getting to play it so many times in a short span of days. It will be interesting to see how the piece grows and changes over the course of the week. Now check out how Ravi tackled our questions for him! 


What was your inspiration for 'Tacit'?

For the last few years I’ve been interested in what I’ve termed "person-specific" music. It’s not music written for a specific person but music that allows the performer to utilize their own proclivities, unique abilities, and specific qualities of their instrument as a core part of performance. In general these pieces have a somewhat open form and method of notation, with durations dictated by the unfurling of various processes. The first piece that I wrote with this in mind was Trajectories, which Hannah graciously performed a little while ago.

I’ve written a few solo works where these notions were explored, but Tacit is the first of these pieces with more than one player. So for the piece to work it is essential that the musicians have a keen understanding of each other’s playing and an capability for “tacit” communication.

What was the collaborative process like with andPlay?

Well, we were in an idyllic location (Avaloch Farms Institute), with plentiful delicious food, fantastic wine, and good company. . . so, it was terrible! No, of course, it was great. My high expectations were surpassed. I love working with people experienced in new music because they’re really unafraid to try anything - andPlay is a stellar example of this! I can remember a somewhat ridiculous moment where I had the duo standing adjacent and bowing each others instruments as well as their own. . . . .needless to say the results weren’t so stellar. But we had to try it to find that out. One thing that I’m particularly happy about the piece is that the duo has really taken it on as their own - not only individually but as the duo. 

What is your pump up music?

Oooooh boy! This changes regularly but at the moment I’ll say . . . . . The Rock*A*Teens - "HWY R" . . . . oh and currently a song called “Health" from a new Australian band called Parsnip. . . .and let’s throw Logical Progression II in there for good measure.

What are some of your top California treats (snacks, meals, wine, etc)?

There are plenty! I suppose I should go through all of your tour stops:

Bay Area: “The Balls” at Southie, Beer at Mikkeler, Dinner at Chez Panisse, Ippuku (an Izakaya in Berkeley), Ethiopian food in Oakland is amazing

Santa Cruz: (haven’t spent much time there but. . .) I’ve had some awesome beer from there, abalone, and Indexical puts on a bunch of awesome shows

Paso Robles: Guyomar Wine, Dinner and cocktails at The Hatch, brunch at Kitchenette, so much more amazing wine. . . .  L’aventure, Linne Calodo, Saxum, Torrin, Golden Triangle, Law, too many to mention. . . .

Los Angeles: Tacos Dorados Camarones at Mariscos Jaliscos (the greatest cheap eat ever!), Cocktails at The Varnish, La Descarga, The Normandie. Kalbi in Koreatown (LA Style)

San Diego: (although I haven’t been there) so many great beers! Fish tacos are just a California thing in general but San Diegans seem to claim ownership

If you had to give up wine or cheese which would you choose?

I would choose to die.


Check out more of Ravi's work on his website.